Vaccines important for all

Published 1:38 pm Wednesday, January 28, 2015

The Lawrence County Health Department recently announced three sites where immunization clinics will be held each month.

In the past 15 years or so, there has been a debate growing about the importance, or, rather, unimportance of getting children vaccinated for infectious diseases.

The catalyst for this debate can be, in part, traced back to a 1998 study published in “The Lancet,” a British medical journal, which linked the combined measles, mumps and rubella vaccine (M.M.R.) to autism.

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The publication resulted in a panic that led to dropping immunizations rates and subsequent outbreaks of those diseases.

Despite the journal’s retraction of the research paper in 2010 due to a lack of scientific evidence, a fervent population of parents still refuses to have their children vaccinated against very serious diseases, which is shortsighted and dangerous.

While several diseases, such as polio and rubella, have been basically eliminated in the United States, they still exist in other countries. People from all over the world visit or move to our country everyday. Those people could very easily come into contact with children who have not been vaccinated and infect them.

Other diseases, such as whooping cough, influenza and meningitis, are still prevalent in the U.S., but are easily prevented through vaccination.

Yet despite all the scientific studies and myth debunking, some people still think vaccines are either not necessary or worse than the diseases they are meant to prevent.

As a society, we cannot rely on others to stop the spread of disease. We must work together to prevent it by getting vaccinated.

If you or your child needs to get updated on vaccinations or have questions about immunizations, contact the county health department at 740-532-3962 ext. 234.